Max Mongrello even climbed down to help the farmer fix a fence, and then shot the buck with just a few minutes of daylight to spare
|Rack Report Details
|170 7/8 inches (gross)
|Time of Year:
|November 26, 2022
|Iowa County, Iowa
|Compound bow Bowhunting
Max Mongrello of Midwest Whitetail moved to Iowa a few years ago to follow a dream. He wanted to work in the hunting industry, but he also wanted to chase monster bucks. And there's no better place to do that than the Hawkeye State. Iowa is the land of big buck dreams.
This diehard deer hunter is self-taught; he came from a family with little hunting background. After moving to Iowa, he started knocking on doors in hopes of securing hunting permission. He gained access to several parcels, including one that would eventually relinquish a very big buck for him. Mongrello hunted the same buck last season, too, for a half dozen or so sits.
I have one previous encounter with the buck in early October 2021, Mongrello said. I was behind the camera for Grant Noble when the buck was within 10 yards, but unfortunately, was on the wrong side of the fence. This left Grant no choice but to let him go.
This summer, the two hunting buddies anxiously awaited the buck's return, but the deer was elusive. They only had one trail camera video of the buck through July but then, as opening day approached, the deer seemed to move into the area and stick around.
Mongrello hunted the buck pretty hard, for a dozen or so sits, without much luck. On November 26, the weather didn't look good, with temperatures reaching the low 50s, far from ideal for Iowa in late November. A southerly wind and low pressure set in. Mongrello had certainly hoped for better weather, but he still went hunting. Something in his gut pulled him to the field.
He settled into his stand along a cut soybean field, which was a great destination food source for the local deer herd. A small ditch line ran through the middle of the field, and his stand was located there, providing great access in and out.
The action went from 0-100 within the matter of 10 minutes, Mongrello said. The afternoon was a blur. He climbed into the treestand around 2:30 p.m. Soon after, a large group of does came flying by him. A few minutes later, more deer ran out. Eight people and two dogs followed up the rear, and obviously had pushed the deer out of bedding cover. Mongrello almost got out of the stand right then. But he decided to wait it out and hopefully shoot a doe.
That was, until the farmer came pulling up in his tractor and began pulling fence 100 yards from me, he said. I decided the evening was all but lost and proceeded to get down and help the farmer, as he has graciously allowed me to hunt this tract for two seasons now. We finished up with the chore around 4:15 p.m., leaving less than an hour of legal light left. I once again decided to hop back in the stand with the hopes of getting a shot at a doe before dark. To my astonishment, just moments after climbing back up, the deer began to pour out of the timber. Within 10 minutes, I went from not having a hope in the world to nearly 50 deer surrounding me.
Then, around 4:45 p.m., the huge deer stepped out about 80 yards away. The deer fed in Mongrello's direction, and eventually pushed a doe toward him. Mongrello settled in for the shot opportunity he'd waited two years for. The buck walked to within 35 yards and turned broadside. Already at full draw, he released the arrow, and sent it straight through the vitals. The buck ran but didn't make it out of sight.
After seeing him go down, I immediately tried to call my buddy, Grant Noble, but my phone died, he said. This is my best buck by nearly 20 inches. The hunt was short but intense, and one that I truly will never forget.
Looking back, Mongrello relied heavily on trail camera intel, but time in the treestand ultimately made this hunt come to fruition. He didn't let subpar conditions keep him from hunting.
The saying 'you don't know if you don't go' was proven correct yet again, he said. The neighbor who I have a strong relationship with was very congratulatory, which made it that much more meaningful. To my knowledge, he had decided to pass the buck another year if given the opportunity. In my opinion, that is the sign of a true sportsman (congratulating someone who harvested a deer that maybe he wouldn't have). He could have just as easily been upset or jealous.
It's hard to not get excited about a 170-inch deer. Mongrello was more than happy to take the massive whitetail. There are many special pieces to this deer, he said. This is the deer that people dream about and the one that I moved to Iowa for all those years ago.
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